http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/51g4deozeil-1397766400.jpg Midnight Sun

The Ghost of a Saber-Tooth Tiger

Midnight Sun

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
April 29, 2014

Named for a short story by partner-bandmate Charlotte Kemp Muhl, Sean Lennon's primary musical outlet has, like much of his solo work, been determinedly low-key. The Acoustic Sessions LP, from 2010, was exactly as described: gentle Muhl-Lennon duets seemingly designed to backdrop a vintage magnum of Chassagne-Montrachet. The limited-release follow-up, 2011's La Carotte Bleue, electrified some of the same songs, and rocked a winking cover of Serge Gainsbourg's "Comic Strip." But Midnight Sun is something else. "Too Deep" opens the album on fat drums, Deep Purple-ish organ howls, crunching guitars and Lennon's nasal snarl – midway between his dad on "Tomorrow Never Knows" and Steven Tyler on "Sweet Emotion." This is a rock record, no apologies.

There is, however, plenty of skepticism, aimed mainly at pop culture and its media mirror. "Say a prayer for the Internet billionaire," Lennon sings amid Muhl's woozy backing on "Animals," nodding to "messages from Jesus in the grease upon the grilled cheese," and the title track conjures "another rave in a cave like a mass grave." Self-produced (with studio gurus Dave Fridmann mixing and Mark Ronson contributing one track), the album sounds like a playful mix of Sixties and Seventies tropes. Overall, the set could use some emotional weight to match the level of wit and craft. But on "Golden Earrings," a shape-shifting cover of Peggy Lee's 1940s gypsy ballad, Lennon and Muhl invest a thrift-store find with remarkable soul. They're an act with a lot up their blousy sleeves.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Long Walk Home”

    Bruce Springsteen | 2007

    When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

    More Song Stories entries »